The following documents concern the appellant's request to release his dog from the Port St. Lucie, Florida Humane Society. At the time of the petition, the dog was kept in a "quarantine" area of the shelter and had not been let out of his cage for exercise or socialization since he was seized 8 months prior. Appellant asks the court to either let him securely confine the dog at his home or board him at the Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary until the dangerous dog determination is resolved.
IN THE COUNTY COURT, 19 th JUDICIAL CIRCUIT,
IN AND FOR ST LUCIE COUNTY FLORIDA
Larry Ciaccio, Case No. 05-CA 001597
City of Port St. Lucie
Animal Control Department,
PETITION TO RELOCATE LINER TO HOME CONFINEMENT OR TO SAFE HARBOR ANIMAL SANCTUARY
1. Appellant’s dog Liner has been kept in a cement floored chain link dog run at the Port St. Lucie Humane Society since being seized by the City of Port St. Lucie on September 16, 2005.
2. In spite of the fact that the Liner has never bitten a person or attacked another animal, he is being kept in the “quarantine” area of the animal shelter.
3. Liner has not been allowed out of his cage for exercise or socialization or even been touched by a human being since he was seized by the City of Port St. Lucie 8 months ago.
4. The Port St. Lucie Humane Society refuses to allow Appellant to visit his dog, stating that it against their “policy”.
5. Upon information and belief, the dog has not been provided heartworm preventative or flea or tick control during the eight months he has been confined at the Port St. Lucie Humane Society, and is not being provided bedding to prevent him from having to sleep directly upon the concrete.
THERE IS NO LEGAL AUTHORITY REQUIRING THAT LINER BE CONFINED AT THE PORT ST LUCIE HUMANE SOCIETY
6. Florida Statute 767.12(1)(a) provides in relevant part that “[a]ny animal that is the subject of a dangerous dog investigation, that is not impounded with the animal control authority, shall be humanely and safely confined by the owner in a securely fenced or enclosed area pending the outcome of the investigation and resolution of any hearings related to the dangerous dog classification. The address of where the animal resides shall be provided to the animal control authority.”
7. Clearly, impoundment by an animal control authority is not the sole option for Liner while his fate is determined by this court.
8. The Port St. Lucie Humane Society’s facility is designed to provide temporary shelter to animals that are lost or who have been relinquished to the Humane Society in order to find them another home. To keep an animal in such a facility on a long term basis, in a small cage deprived of exercise, companionship and veterinary care is extremely cruel.
9. Appellant is willing to humanely and safely confine Liner at home pending the outcome of this case. Even though Liner has never been designated a “dangerous dog” under section 767.12, Fla. Stat. Appellant is willing to voluntarily comply with the stricter confinement requirements imposed by Section 767.12(2) Fla. Stat which apply to dogs that have been legally designated as dangerous, namely posting his property with dangerous dog signs, keeping Liner in the house or on a leash at all times and muzzling Liner if must be transported from Appellant’s property.
10. Alternatively, Appellant requests permission to transfer Liner to Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary and Clinic in Jupiter, Florida where Appellant would allowed to visit his dog, and where his dog would be exercised, provided preventative veterinary care and bedding.
11. The attached affidavit of Linda Kender , Obedience Training Coordinator for Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary and Hospital, and Director of Pit Bull Rescue of South Florida, establishes that long term confinement of a dog is detrimental to the dog’s psychological well being.
12. The attached affidavit of Linda Kender further establishes that Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary is willing to board Liner in a more humane environment until this matter is resolved.
13. Counsel for Appellant has contacted Counsel for Appellee City of Port St. Lucie, who stated that he opposed Liner being relinquished for home confinement but did not oppose him being transferred to Safe Harbor .
WHEREFORE, Appellant requests an order allowing him to bring his dog home subject to Liner being secured in compliance with the requirements specified in Section 767.12(1)(a) Fla. Stat., or that alternatively he be allowed to move Liner to Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary and Hospital for humane safekeeping until this matter is resolved.
MARCY I. LAHART
Attorney for Plaintiff Larry Ciaccio
711 Talladega Street
West Palm Beach , FL 33405
(561) 655-9561 (Facsmile)
Fla. Bar. No. 0967009
I HEREBY CERTIFY that a true copy of the foregoing Petition was furnished, by mail, to Roger Orr, City Attorney, City of Port St. Lucie 121 SW Port St Lucie Blvd, Port St. Lucie, FL 334984-5042 on this ____ day of May, 2006.
MARCY I. LAHART
AFFIDAVIT OF LINDA KENDER
Linda Kender, being first duly sworn, deposes and says,
1. I have personal knowledge of the facts contained in this affidavit and am otherwise competent to testify as to the facts contained in this affidavit.
2. I am employed by Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary and Hospital (hereinafter Safe Harbor) in Jupiter, Florida as the Obedience Training Coordinator and have worked for Safe Harbor since ____.
3. I am the local coordinator of Pit Bull Rescue and have considerable experience with Pit Bull dogs.
4. In my professional opinion as dog trainer, keeping any dog confined for more than a few days in isolation is inhumane and likely to cause the dog psychological damage.
5. I have spoken with the kennel manager at the Port St. Lucie Humane Society regarding Liner and am of the professional opinion that the care currently provided to him is substandard and that he is suffering as a result of being deprived companionship and exercise.
6. In my professional opinion Liner will likely suffer long term psychological damage as a result of his confinement in “quarantine” at the Port St. Lucie Humane Society, and should be moved immediately to a more humane environment.
7. Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary and Hospital has the facilities to securely confine Liner and safely provide him regular exercise and socialization pending the outcome of this matter.
I verify under penalty of perjury that the foregoing statements are correct and true.
The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this ____ day of ____________ by Linda Kender who is personally known to me or who has produced ___________ as identification and who did take an oath.